The Christmas List – what to watch

Christmas films; you sit down with the family and watch the same old films year after year, or maybe the newest offering for the kids, the younger siblings. Why not, instead, watch something a bit … different?

Starting with films for the youngsters (and those young at heart) that don’t involve elves or a Claus, try out Megamind – a wonderfully animated film that depicts the struggle to understand yourself, what is right and wrong, and what it is that will actually make you happy. Following the same anti-hero theme, Despicable Me is another option – a story of minions, orphans and the power of family, alongside a dollop of moon shrinking and pyramid stealing action.

However, if you must have snow in your Christmas films, Ice Age is a sure fire winner (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Sid?). Following an unlikely herd of animals, consisting of a saber-toothed tiger, a mammoth and a sloth, Ice Age sees this band of misfits trek across the snow in order to reunite a human baby with its family – what could be better at Christmas time (and we can’t forget about Scrat and his never ending quest for an acorn).

For a fun and furry film, Gremlins is perfect: it is set at Christmas and it also has a splendid plot (and the cutest Mogwai ever in the form of Gizmo). In the search for the perfect present, protagonist Randall Peltzer buys Gizmo in Chinatown, and is told to abide by three specific rules: don’t expose Gizmo to light, don’t get him wet and don’t feed him after midnight…Of course, Gizmo gets wet and five new Mogwai appear, foremost among them Stripe – the evil antagonist of the film – who ends up in a local pool, spawning hundreds of new Mogwai that attack the town. The highlight of the film, undeniably, is getting to see rows of Mogwai in a cinema watching Snow White, a hilarious cinematic appearance from Disney that seems to suggest that the west is not ready for Mogwai, no matter how cute, or with the revival of Furbies…

For those who are more action minded, Die Hard is a brilliant choice. With a young Bruce Willis (including hair) and an excellent performance (as always) from Alan Rickman as the infamous terrorist Hans Gruber, Die Hard is a wonderful film – and it’s even set on Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to watch Willis gun his way through Gruber’s henchmen, climb through air ducts (where his t-shirt mysteriously changes colour…) and rescue the day. It is a superb old school action movie that still works well today. You could always put yourself through the numerous sequels, too if you want…although Bruce does lose his hair.

For the romantics out there, the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is always a tremendous and fulfilling watch. Why not spend four hours plus with a loved one on Christmas day, to watch some dancing, Darcy and plentiful of disastrous happenings with the ever laughable Mr Collins.

So, this Christmas season why not move away from the cheesy films that always get shown and go for something with a little more bite, and a little more fluff.


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May 2021
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